Currently the hottest ticket in recent concert history, Beyoncé’s globally-epic Renaissance World Tour has been a joy to watch for those who paid top dollar to see her live and the ones watching from the lens of social media alike. From the out-of-this-world outfits to her applaud-worthy efforts in making each night a completely individual experience from the last show, King Bey has been on a record-breaking run on the road this past summer that came full circle last night (September 4) as she celebrated her 42nd birthday at the last of three shows during the tour’s L.A. stop.
As you might’ve already heard, the incomparable “Supreme(s) diva” herself, Mrs. Diana Ross, came out to sing Beyoncé a special rendition of “Happy Birthday,” much to everyone’s surprise including Bey herself.
There’s definitely an art that goes into pulling off the perfect surprise musical guest appearance. The wow factor alone from fans always makes it worth it, and culturally it gives us something to fondly look back on with awe and gratitude. Who could forget the moment when Jay-Z proved his “King Of New York Rap” dominance by surprising concertgoers at the 2001 HOT 97 Summer Jam with a cameo from the Michael Jackson that lasted only seconds? It’s been a decade, but many people still get chills from the very moment when Kelly and Michelle shocked us all by popping out of the Super Bowl stage to join Beyoncé and form Destiny’s Child once again during her iconic 2013 Halftime Show performance — the world needs another DC reunion, ASAP!
Inspired in more ways than one by the newly-42 “THIQUE” diva, we took a look at 10 classic surprise guest performances that each get us excited all over again. Some you’ve seen before and a few may be a surprise in itself, but we’re sure you’ll have a great time jamming to and through these once-in-a-lifetime live music memories.
Take a look at 10 memorable music guests during live performances that did full justice to the element of surprise:
1. James Brown Bringing Michael Jackson And Prince Onstage At The Beverly Theatre In Hollywood (1983)
A king of soul with two of his most talented successors that each went on to become legends in their own right — what a moment!
2. Whitney Houston’s Surprise Duet Of “I Will Always Love You” With A Fan On ‘¡Sorpresa, Sorpresa!’ (1999)
There are GRAMMY-winning singers, male and female alike, who would’ve killed for the opportunity to duet with The Voice. Easily a moment this lucky contestant will remember forever.
3. Usher Moonwalking With Michael Jackson At His Final Concert (2001)
Looking back, this moment in a way feels like the King Of Pop passing down the torch to his most deserving student in the game.
4. Eminem Bringing Out Elton John To Perform “Stan” At The GRAMMYs (2001)
From headline-grabbing controversy came a shocking onstage union that might’ve even saved the controversial rapper’s then-blossoming career from allegations of homophobia that could’ve proved to be debilitating.
5. Aretha Franklin Closing Out Part 2 Of ‘Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular’ (2011)
How else do you shock an extremely generous (and rich!) woman that gives out free cars to her guests? Bring in the Queen of Soul, of course.
6. Rihanna Bringing Out Britney Spears To Perform “S&M (Remix)” At The Billboard Music Awards (2011)
One needed a strong comeback and the other was on a mission towards dominating the pop world. By shocking the industry, both got exactly what they were looking for.
7. The 2Pac Hologram Joining Snoop Dogg And Dr. Dre At Coachella (2012)
Even over a decade later, we still can’t believe they pulled this one off.
8. Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams Reuniting Destiny’s Child Alongside Beyoncé During Her Super Bowl Halftime Show (2013)
Hey, we guess Beyoncé just knows how to keep the world guessing!
9. Remy Ma Bringing Out Young M.A., Cardi B, Lil Kim, MC Lyte, Rah Digga, Lady Of Rage, Monie Love And Queen Latifah At HOT 97 Summer Jam (2017)
Remy was playing chess in this epic move in her feud with Nicki Minaj. Can you say, checkmate?!
10. Latto Performing “Big Energy (Remix)” With Mariah Carey At The BET Awards (2022)
Latto cashed in lovely on her lucky streak last year by topping the charts with a sample of a classic pop hit by Mariah while simultaneously bringing MC back to the BET Awards stage for the first time in close to a decade. In the words of MC herself, “a moment!”